Spiced orange crownies

Hey gang!

We recently had a baking contest/coffee morning at work for Macmillan Cancer Support, and my competitive side led me to create these cookie-brownie orange spiced bites of deliciousness. I normally try to avoid refined sugar- even brown- in my bakes, but given that I knew I’d be competing against chocolate, butter, and cream filled concoctions, I let this one slide a little bit. It’s still lower in sugar and fat than conventional afternoon treats. It looks like a lot of ingredients, but most of them are basic (I apologise for jumping on the chia hype- I got some on offer!), and what you’re really getting here is three recipes (all would be delicious in their own right): a proper crumbly oat cookie base, chocolate-orange sweet potato brownies, and magical spiced nuts. I know it sounds a little odd to be using black pepper and coriander anywhere a dessert but trust me! The idea is a modification of a dessert from Yottam Ottolenghi’s NOPI cookbook, and it’s genius.

Ready in about an hour

Makes 16

FOR THE CRUMBLY OAT COOKIE BASE

  • 100g flour
  • 100 g oats
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 70g dark brown sugar
  • 70g coconut oil
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp. water
  • 1 chia or flax egg (I used 1 tbsp. chia seeds and 5 tbsp. water)

FOR THE CHOC-ORANGE BROWNIE

  • 220g cooked sweet potato (about 2 potatoes). Steamed if you’re in a hurry, but I roasted these along with my sweet potato wedges the night before and I’d recommend it. It really brings out the sweetness.
  • 50g raisins, soaked for 10 mins in boiling water
  • 4 tbsps. cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp. dark brown sugar, honey, or other sweetener
  • 4 tbsp. water
  • Zest of half an orange or satsuma

FOR THE SPICED NUTS

  • ½ tsp. ground coriander or coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. black peppercorns
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. of dark brown sugar, honey, or other sweetener
  • A large handful of mixed nuts

METHOD

  • Preheat the oven to gas mark 5. Lightly oil a baking tin.
  • Start with the cookie base. Place all of the ingredients apart from the chia egg in a food processor and blitz for a good 30 seconds until well combined and the oats have broken down a little. Add in the chia egg and blitz briefly to combine.
  • When you pinch the mixture between fingers, it should stiffen together like cookie dough (and even taste like normal cookie dough). Add a splash more water if you need it to cling better. Tip into the baking tin and press down into the tin until you have a nice thick even layer (at least 1 cm)
  • For the brownie, simply tip everything into the food processor and blend until really smooth. You don’t want any raisins to still be looking like raisins.
  • Spread the brownie mixture on top of the cookies, and try not to eat the whole mixture raw.
  • Now for the nuts. Grind the spices- in a pestle and mortar or food processor- until they are a fine powder. Add the nuts to break them up a little bit. Finally add your sugar or honey, mix to combine, and scatter over the brownie.
  • Cover the tin with foil. I wouldn’t normally insist, but the nuts can burn really quickly otherwise.
  • Bake for around 3o minutes and check that it’s cooked through- it should be set on top, but when you insert a knife, expect a little wetness from the brownie. Once you reach this stage, remove the foil and make for 3 minutes more to toast the nuts.
  • Leave to cool for 10 minutes and cut into square.
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